The role of taxi associations as agents of social control and community policing

28 Feb 2018 - 10:15
Taxi rank in Cape Town

Azwi Netshikulwe and Ncedo Mngqibisa from the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) presented their research findings on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 at a seminar hosted by the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR).

The name of the seminar was: "The role of taxi associations as agents of social control and community policing"

The duo discussed how the taxi industry in South Africa is notoriously known for being mirrored by violence and how difficult it is to regulate taxi associations from the law enforcement point of view. They argued that it was therefore ironic that members of the taxi industry are known to play a role in community policing as an alternative to formal mechanisms of maintaining order and building social cohesion.

Their recent research in the taxi industry, as well as separate research regarding xenophobic violence, confirmed the extent of violence between rival associations, community groupings, and the role of the taxi associations in community policing and social control.

They found that given the well-known reports of violence within the taxi industry, the communities they researched in selected areas seemed to place their hopes on taxi associations to deal with crime and other problems facing their communities. Because taxi associations are seen as ‘able to get the job done’ through extra-legal and often violent means, communities preferred their intervention over that of their designated police officers and other formal structures who have been formally trained in conflict-prevention mechanisms.

The initial findings of their research led to many ideas and discussions, and stimulated consideration about what is currently known about the role of taxi associations as agents of social control and their activities in community policing.

To find out more about this topic and what was discussed at the seminar contact Azwi Netshikulwe at